My Italy of the Good Old Days

“I really like the way you’ve furnished your bar, Francesco. No wonder people keep flocking in.
— Thanks for the compliment, Katharina. I think I’ve been lucky.
— Lucky, I don’t know, but you’ve sure done something right. Remind me, when did you set up shop?
— About a year ago. Already! Come vola il tempo…
— You’re telling me!”

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A Musical Feast in the Heart of Tuscany

One of Tuscany’s most intimate and charming festivals turns 30 next month. No small feat for a chamber music festival in Italy today! Founded by Benedetta Origo, the owner of Villa La Foce, and her son, cellist Antonio Lysy, Incontri in Terra di Siena features world-class artists in the most beautiful venues of the Val d’Orcia.

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A Sweet Pre-Latin Aperitivo in Vetulonia

Before moving to the bel paese, I had barely heard about the Etruscans, a rich and remarkable civilization who flourished in ancient Italy until they were conquered and assimilated by the more powerful Latin polity.

The ancient Romans often referred to them as the “Tusci”, from which “Tuscany” has been derived. They also borrowed from them many of their ingenious inventions in agriculture and road construction.

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The Baroque Beauty of Sicily

Reminiscing about Sicily, the great David Herbert Lawrence once wrote: “Anyone who has once known this land can never be quite free from the nostalgia for it.”

Nicknamed “God’s Kitchen”, Sicily had remained for me, until recently, a distant and enigmatic paradise. But last year, at long last, Trust & Travel gained a foothold on this dream island, and as a result gave me a good reason to get on familiar terms with it.

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Under the Tuscan Sun

When actor Colin Firth, an Academy Award winner, and Eco Age founder Livia Firth decide to actively foster a little-known refugee project in Southern Tuscany, you can reasonably surmise that they are on to something. Last December, the famous couple visited Crune Lab – a hub which operates as a meeting place, support network and sewing workshop for migrants and refugees – and returned home with bagfuls of handmade textile creations!

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The New Casamonti Museum in Florence

When the Eiffel tower was erected at the end of the 19th century, a big outcry was raised in Paris about the bold new monument. One could hear or read words such as “useless and hideous”, a “chimney stack”, a “truly tragic street lamp”, a “giant unsightly skeleton”…

In the early 16th century, many Florentines reacted pretty much in the same way when the Palazzo Bartolini Salimbeni was being built. Continue Reading →

A Little Palace of Art in Venice

The luxury of loving Italy… These are the very last words of Italian Hours, a collection of essays which the great Henry James wrote about the bel paese more than a century ago, and which I have recently read with great interest.

 

 

 

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Italian Leather Craftsmanship

My love for the bel paese has always been closely related to my passion for fine leather bags. And when I say “fine leather bags”, I don’t necessarily mean Gucci or Prada – even though I would not turn the precious item down if you offered me one. Since I first set foot in Italy, I have always revelled in discovering and supporting lesser-known artisan leather brands.

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High water in Venice

I had been to Venice a hundred times before, at least, and never, ever had I witnessed the phenomenon which I had been reading and hearing about for more than twenty years. And then it happened, at long last, on the 5th of November 2017. I was there and I saw it: Venice’s spectacular acqua alta. Its high water.

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A Dog’s Dolce Vita

My mother had a little smile: “Katharina, I would love to spend another holiday in Italy. But I worry about Daisy…”

Daisy… the cutest wire-haired dachshund on Earth!

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